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Hospitality Market Makes Comeback, Slowly

At the annual BDNY boutique hotel fair held in New York City, attendees swarmed the event and some vendors expect the category to return to pre-pandemic levels late next year, early 2023.

Lisa Vincenti
collage of area rug booths at BDNY
Attendance at the first BDNY in two years was bustling, and traffic brisk at many rug booths.

NEW YORK -- The BDNY, which held its first in-person event since 2019 in mid-November at the Javits convention center, was bustling with attendees meeting with area rug and carpet vendors for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic struck in early 2020.

An air of excitement and enthusiasm permeated the show and hotel group buyers and hospitality designers were out in force sourcing new product and meeting with area rug exhibitors face to face. Many of the vendors who reported a busy and productive show say that the hospitality category is slowly inching back and that the segment will return to pre-pandemic levels sometime late next year or in early 2023. However, caution abounds as the unexpected path of the pandemic globally and domestically continues to throw a wrench in the best laid plans.

For the moment, though, rug executives say that while hospitality business is rebounding, most projects are for hotels that are refreshing interiors or high-end multi-family dwellings, with major new developments not expected to take off until the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and travel eases up.

Despite those hurdles, for some hospitality players business never really let up, excluding during the nationwide shutdowns of early 2020. Lucky to be counted among those is Liora Manne, a source for proprietary Lamontage wall coverings and area rugs. Business has been booming for the New York studio, which recently opened a new showroom at the NY Design Center at 200 Lexington Ave.

"It is coming back alive, projects that were dormant are restarting, and I am really optimistic," said designer Liora Manne, founder of her eponymous decorative textiles and area rugs studio. "Overall, my business is ahead of what it was pre-pandemic."

The company, known for its colorful, vibrant designs, showcased a fresh, more earthy neutral color palette at the 2021 BDNY. "Everybody knows we do bright and that we can customize and do any color. The idea for BDNY was to show this new natural which is very earthy and sisal-like neutral color story in various patterns. The same pattern could be done in wall quality, floor quality and pillows. And by featuring shapes, you can see the limitless possibilities of Lamontage.

"Because of the weight of our products, including rugs, we are flying in a lot of the orders, so there is a little bit of a [delivery] slowdown but it is a few days not a few months. For urgent orders we can fly them, and people will pay," Manne explained, noting that clients not in a rush are still shipping product under the assumption that delays are possible.

Liora Manne focused BDNY on its sisal-inspired color options, and its ability to create coordinated, shaped rugs.

Like Liora Manne, Creative Touch, a New Jersey based hand-knotted rug manufacturer, also reported a busy opening day at BDNY. For the vendor, while hospitality is not the largest portion of its business, it continues to get hotel projects, counting Virgin Hotels and Hilton Hotels among its clientele. Baki Ildiz, company founder, said that while project quoting has slowed down, it is still underway. "Often the projects are spread out over long periods so clients are starting to plan ahead. I am hoping we will get back to pre-pandemic levels in the second half of 2022 if nothing happens in the economy, there is no inflation crisis, container shipping normalizes, and the pandemic stabilizes."

Ildiz, along with several other BDNY participants, noted that many buyers and clients are still unwilling to meet with vendors face to face in their offices, so that has added another challenge to doing business in the new COVID world given that area rugs and carpets are such a tactile product.

Creative Touch's patchwork rugs, on the ground, remain a popular choice for hospitality buyers. Also, among its best-
sellers, is Bosphorus collection design HW 16/16, hanging right. On the left is Scribble, a hand-knotted rug made in
Nepal from the Robin Gray Designs collection.

Surya, which has always had a presence in the hospitality sector, began to more aggressively target that segment in 2013, at which time it made a BDNY debut. Three years later the company renamed that division to Surya Contract. Since then, the company has participated in several BDNY events, including the 2021 show.

"Hospitality is a growing space for us," Arda Bulak, director of marketing, told at the show. "We are here making our presence known. We were at the 2019 BDNY show and are still building our contract business -- we launched Surya Contract not so long ago and it’s a growing business for us.

"Hospitality is slowly coming back, and one of the biggest challenges in the hospitality business is meeting with designers," he continued. "A lot of designers are not taking formal meetings in their offices so getting in front of them is one of the biggest challenges now. Since they aren't taking as many meetings, events such as this are really important. It is booming here. It is really busy; we’ve got some great traction." And while Surya's BDNY booth doesn't allow for a full presentation of its offering, the event gets the brand and its range of soft goods in front of potential clients.

"We are showcasing some of our contract grade area rugs mostly crafted from 100 percent New Zealand wool. Huge attention grabbers here have been our poufs and pillows. There is definitely a demand for those," Bulak said.

Surya showcased its hospitality area rug diversity with a hand-knotted all-wool Cappadocia collection design,
hanging, a hand-knot Malaga geometric style, on the ground left, and the machine-woven Brunswick, bottom right.
The company's poufs and pillows were a hit with BDNY shoppers too,

At the Couristan booth the company showcased its latest hand-tufted, Axminister and injection printed custom rug designs -- all in palettes of blue and gray.

Barbara DeSalvo, a veteran contract territory manager with Couristan based in Denver, said, "We are getting back but it will be at least another year before the revenue is up where it should be. There is a lot starting now; we are very busy. The pipeline is filling.

"Interestingly we are seeing a lot of multi-family apartments and hotel renovations -- it seems like large convention areas are coming off hold and hotels are starting upgrades now -- they are preparing for hosting groups again and those projects take time -- a year to a year and half." 

Also, she continued, "I have seen a lot of rebranding of properties too. We have so many brands right now in hospitality and it is becoming more and more important to have a niche. Something to separate you from everyone else."

Couristan showcased blue and gray coordinated styles. Above a high-texture tufted design garnered attention at the company's
spacious 2021 BDNY booth.

Another hospitality heavy-weight, Mohawk Group's Durkan Hospitality brand was bustling at BDNY.

"It's exciting. This show has been successful, and we have had a lot of traffic," said Tracy Lambeth, regional vice president of sales, Durkan Hospitality. "Business is slowly but steadily coming back. In 2021, we are doing better than last year this time. And we are going to do a little better next year and hope things will be back to normal after that."

Lambeth, based in Georgia, said she is seeing lots of renovations work, including resort properties, and at mainstream extended-stay brands with some new builds coming back as well. Durkan, which offers domestically made hospitality products, showcased its new Graafika collection, offered in its Definity, Pattern Perfect, PDI carpet tile, and tufted broadloom constructions. "We can make anything, and the line is all made in Georgia -- that has helped us be stronger with major brands such as Marriott, Hilton and IHG," she said of the multilevel cut and loop range.

Durkan featured its new multilevel Graafika collection, available in several qualities including high-end broadloom and
carpet tiles.

BDNY newcomer Rug & Kilim, decided to participate so it could introduce its upscale brand and custom capabilities to hospitality buyers and to learn more about the industry. "We have worked on a couple of hotel projects, but it hasn't been what we are after," said Jahanshah "Josh" Nazmiyal, founder and president. "We are trying to learn more about the market, and we are really trying to sell our archive and our knowledge.

"We are growing like crazy; we have doubled our business in the last two years and plan on doing the same in next two years mostly through online and wholesale. And, now we are putting more energy into trade business," Nazmiyal added.

Rug & Kilim debuted at BDNY, showcasing its depth and breadth of custom area rug options.


Pennsylvania-based luxury custom area rug studio Christopher Fareed featured a show-stopping bespoke design,
hand-knotted with the finest New Zealand wools.

Couristan highlighted its more budget-friendly injection-printed design capabilities at the 2021 boutique hotel show.

Custom rug atelier Creative Matters, based in Toronto, decided to return to BDNY at the last minute and says the show
was a success with lots of designers stopping by the booth to browse its latest hand-knotted and machine-made options.

Durkan debuts its Graafika collection of high-texture soft flooring options at the fall 2021 show.

Business has been up at Liora Manne, known for its vibrant, colorful proprietary Lamontage decorative textiles and rugs.
The studio decided to offer a fresh look in unexpected neutral tones at BDNY 2021.

Italian carpet and rug merchant Loloey played up its program with celebrated British designer Kelly Hoppen, displaying
her hand-tufted Filigree design, shown full-size on the wall.

Nanimarquina, headquartered in Barcelona and with a NYC showroom, debuted its new Formula Contract collection
of highly functional simple rugs designed with sustainability in mind for indoor and outdoor settings.

Nourison Hospitality introduced its newest area rug construction, Normak Plus, hand-crafted of premium wool, combining
velvet like hand-knotted textures with woven flat textures, as part of an elaborate display created by Hyatt Hotel's
Unapologetically Thompson brand.

On the wall of its BDNY booth, Sacco Carpets, headquartered in New York, featured an eye-catching graffiti-inspired custom design by UK-based
hospitality designer Robert Angell, which is currently being installed in a restaurant in Berlin.

Sacco showcased its ability to create playful shaped area rugs, which have been a hit with hospitality designers.

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